Verizon Wireless will soon begin charging customers a $2 fee for paying their bill online or by phone. The changes are scheduled to go into effect starting January 15, 2012 but there are a few ways that the new fees can be avoided.

Droid-Life obtained a document detailing the pending "convenience fee" which outlines that the charge will be applied to bill payments made by phone (automated or rep-assisted) and online through My Verizon and My Verizon Mobile. Users will be alerted about the $2 fee during the online and over-the-phone payment process and prompted to select from alternate payment methods that waive the fee if so desired.

These alternative payment methods include paying with an electronic check, signing up for AutoPay, going into a retail store and paying in person, using a gift card, rebate card or reward card or mailing a check via the postal service.

It's a bit ironic that Verizon will begin charging this convenience fee as service providers, regardless of market, have encouraged customers to sign up for paperless billing for years, citing it as a cheaper and more environmentally safe alternative to traditional snail mail billing. Online and automated phone billing eliminates wasted paper and postage fees both ways.

Of course, $2 per month doesn't sound like much, but that's $24 extra per year, per customer that pays online or by phone and it's a safe bet that this is exactly how millions pay their bill each month.

Are you a Verizon customer, and if so, how do you feel about this convenience fee?